Resident Evil has had its residency for being a landmark in survival horror removed and buried deep beneath its flaws. Games such as Amnesia laugh at its attempts to “scare” and gamers have turned their noses at a series that’s overdosed on guns and filmic dressage. As if the series, beloved by horror fans, wandered into the crossfires of Battlefield and Call of Duty and said, “I can be just like them”; forgetting that all it starts off with is a Combat Knife and Ink Ribbon. But this is where the series is. An action/adventure shoot-em-up that has murdered way more than half of its horror and pits you against wave upon wave of combat efficient infected soldiers all under the bright outdoors of massive environments. Revival
Those of you who love and care about the series will already know what it’s become now and many have abandoned all hope for it ever being anything like its former self. I do not blame you. So, as a devoted fan to a dying series, I want to talk about the future of it. The Resident Evil 7 that is quite possibly being talked about now by its creators: Capcom.
“In the future, the Resident Evil series will discover new possibilities and progress as a title that can compete globally without disappointing any expectations…” – statement by Capcom
So with Capcom seeking to progress the series, here are the ways, going forward, that NEED to happen (in my opinion) in some top notch way in order for Resident Evil to take back its survival horror throne down in the dungeon:
Just be scary again. Even if your next instalment is only three hours long, make it the most three hours of pure terror you can ever put a gamer through. RE needs to stop thinking big and wake us up in an isolated, dank, atmospheric location that is rich with dread and oozing a dark history. Combine that with a constant pursuing threat, perhaps, reminiscent of Nemesis and not throw us a hulking tank at expected moments like Ustanak. Make us work bloody tooth and nail for ammo, herbs, keys, everything and enhance the risk value. Make us question again whether it’s wiser to conserve handgun bullets or clear the room. Capcom, if you do not get survival horror right for RE7, you are seriously heading in the wrong direction and “You Are Dead” will be the only fitting words for your franchise.
When RE6 introduced the waypoint like mechanic I nearly threw up. This completely tarnishes any incentive to go and poke around off the beaten track in hope of some extra ammo or health. Not that you would want to do that in any of the more recent entries as your reward for exploration is virtually gone. Your ammo is always sky high, boxes containing said ammo and health are littered in plain sight and no one wants to go about shooting plates with BSAA symbols on them. Bring back the sense of exploring a terrifying environment. The mansion in RE gave it to you gift wrapped and if you can recreate that in RE7, do it immediately. Do not hurry us on to the next place, keep us rooted and hunting; scavenging to survive against abominable terrors we might face next. I want to be sweating buckets and stressed out my arse rather than on auto pilot with my heavy machine gun.
RE made zombies petrifying; a force to be reckoned with rather than a force to laugh at (Dead Rising). One thing that isn’t funny though, having enemies that shoot you and duck for cover in a RE game. It ruined the final act of RE4, destroyed RE5 and made Chris’s campaign in RE6 a complete joke. We need the Lisa Trevors, a bubonic Tyrant, zombies that pursue you from room to room eager to disembowel you and just bring back the Lickers and their iconic noises. Your monsters are the key to giving us the fear. Make them, all of them, hurt you bad. I want the creatures that soak up your bullets to return and I want them to be absolutely horrific in nature. Even if you just made every enemy some form of creature, it would still please me and your series as a whole. No gun totting enemies will be met with gratitude.
Out with the new, in with the old
I cannot think of another series where gamers have beckoned so much for the old over the new than with RE. And they are all one hundred percent right. Capcom is so addicted to finding new possibilities they are constantly rewriting mechanics that do not need to be touched. For example, a controversial shout out, fixed camera. A beautiful mechanic back in the day that forced the horror into your face in a good way. You had to plan; take a big gulp and step into the next part of the screen all senses blazing. If you want to try something new Capcom, adapt something you still hold the crown for. A CCTV like mechanic that’s easy to manoeuvre but restricts and strangles our senses. Don’t get me wrong, you were right to ditch some stuff such as the way we open doors or climb stairs (such a novelty). Other mechanics I would love to see a return are an inventory system like RE4 only much more restrictive, typewriters WITH Ink Ribbons would be fascinating to explore in this era, memorable/horrific sound tracks to name but a few.
Be Resident Evil again – Resident Evil 7: The predecessor of Resident Evil
Your worlds and plot do not orbit around familiar characters. Put Chris Redfield in as many games as you like but your still not going to hide the fact that the story is awful. Go back and explore experimental mishaps perhaps combined with a supernatural element? Chemistry meets alchemy with terrifying, nightmarish consequences (anyone who has seen the gameplay of what Resident Evil 4 WAS going to be can see what I am talking about here). You don’t even need to take the premise too seriously. I know you want to create a realistic horror but sometimes the unbelievable can weigh more on the shock scales.
It’s not all hopeless and unobtainable. The release of Resident Evil: Revelations blew a breeze of fresh air into our faces covered in gunpowder from the last one before it. It was scary, it brought back the monsters; it was evil. It was as close as a true Resident Evil game that we have seen in a long long time and currently that’s the newest entry. Have Capcom finally looked down upon their virus covered series and sought out a cure that will enable Resident Evil 7 to finally be the one that saves the series? Or will RE think of another Operation Raccoon City and make an online only game complete with Barry Burton Deathmatches or Capture the T-virus (G-virus whatever the hell it is now). Let me know your feelings and tell me what needs to be done.